Whitworth Choir returns from tour triumphant

by Courtney Murphy

Whitworth students and music enthusiasts from around Spokane packed the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox downtown to watch the final leg of the Whitworth Choir’s spring tour on Saturday, April 11.

The choir spent spring break on tour across the state of Washington and part of British Columbia. After starting in Wenatchee at Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the choir then traveled the coast from Vancouver, B.C., to Vancouver, Washington. After a week of rest, the tour closed with Saturday’s concert downtown.

While they were on tour, the choir also had the opportunity to do several workshops with high school choirs in addition to performing.

To several choir members, this tour stood out from tours in past years because of the Mass they performed, composed by Director Marc A. Hafsø.

“The Mass has formed every form of Christian worship,” Hafsø, who is in his 12th year at Whitworth, said. This is why he decided to include it in the tour, along with other spiritual songs. The Mass was about 25 minutes long, and has five movements and is sung in both Greek and Latin.

Junior Katelyn Hunter, a Spanish and secondary education major, also enjoyed performing the Mass.

“It’s really long, kind of exhausting, but it’s beautiful. It’s very intricate, very intentionally put together and it was really cool to be able to put that together for the choir because it was a ton of work,” Hunter said.

For the Mass, the choir learned the Nicene Creed in Latin. Singing in other languages is sometimes easier than in English, because in English, singers bring bad habits in from their speech, Hunter said.

Hunter, who has been singing for eight years and has been a part of both the Women’s Choir and the Whitworth Choir, started in junior high and fell in love with choir in high school. Her teacher made singing relevant to her daily life, and taught her to use singing as a tool to change her outlook each day.

Although Hunter found choir at Whitworth to be harder and more intense than choir in high school, she enjoys the commitment, talent and knowledge each choir member displays.

“There’s a lot more opportunities to make real music because the bar is so much higher,” Hunter said.

Hunter enjoys working with Hafsø as a director because of his creativity, sense of humor and commitment to the choir.

“It’s nice because he has a really good balance of taking it seriously, but also there’s joyful moments that bubble up and we just laugh at mistakes and things like that, If your director is committed, then you’ll be a lot more willing to give a lot more and work harder,” Hunter said.

Hafsø’s sense of humor was evident during the concert when he referred to “The Ballad of Green Broom,” part of the Songs of Spring and Summer section, as his favorite song about brooms ever composed.

Juniors Jennifer Rudsit and Elizabeth Williams, who attend most of the Whitworth Choir’s bigger concerts and have backgrounds in choir, enjoyed the performance.

Williams’ favorite was the traditional Zambian song “Bonse Aba”, because she had sung in before, Williams said. Rudsit most enjoyed “Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing Day” and “No Time.”

The Whitworth Choir finished their 2015 Spring Tour strongly, and showed their support for each other by honoring their 12 graduating seniors.

“We all like to say we’ve ‘run the river’ together, meaning we’ve all gone through crazy stuff together. We’re a really tight choir, extremely supportive,” Hunter said.

Although the tour is over, the returning Whitworth Choir members, like Hunter are already looking forward to what next year holds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *